Why Your Website’s User Interface is Customer Service, Too

When you think about customer service, what do you think about? Chances are, you’re thinking about a company’s salespeople, or its call center, or maybe even an email exchange.

Did you consider its website part of the customer service experience?

If you didn’t, you should.

I’m guilty of focusing on the call center type of interaction myself. I recently had to change travel plans at the last minute, never an easy task, and most of my interactions were with various call centers.

But the corporate website was actually my first point of customer interaction; that’s where I looked up information about my trip and found the phone number that I called.

Some work we’ve been doing for one of our hotel clients this week reinforced this point.

The hotel’s homepage was receiving a much higher bounce rate than the rest of its site, indicating that somehow that page wasn’t meeting the needs of visitors. So we installed click-tracking software that measures where users click—as well as where they move their mouse on the page.

What the data revealed is that visitors to the home page aren’t just looking for reservations and information on the rooms as we’d expected; they’re also trying to find the hotel contact information, particularly the address, which was at the bottom of the page.

Armed with this new information, we are testing a new version of the homepage reorganized around these main activities with the goal of improving the experience for site visitors.

The next time you approach a site redesign or a simple page tweak, go beyond just usability or aesthetics. Think about your site, and your homepage in particular, from your customer’s perspective. What do they need and how can you provide it? What is their pain point and how can you solve it?

Don’t just think user experience. Think customer service.

Your Turn

  • What sites do you think provide superior customer service?
  • How can you improve your own site to delight your customers?
  • Do you have a story of great customer service online?
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